Rocky Mountain fur trade bicentennial years

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My mind was wandering around last night and I got to thinking about the Rocky Mountain fur trade years. It came to me that it will be 200 years since those shinnin times began. That period was what really peeked my interest in muzzle loaders. I bought one of those poorly made CVA flintlock kits in 1974 and I’ve been a sucker ever since. It had a frizzen guaranteed not to spark.

Who else has memories to share?
My personal interest in BlackPowder started in Junior High, I was in detention in the school library and found a book on Jim Bridger. The contents of that book really sparked an interest and a life long passion for this activity. The guns and the people fascinated me...

I saved my allowance and bought a used CVA Mountain Rifle in .50 caliber at the local pawn shop for $85.00. I learned how to shoot it, clean it and hunt small game with it. The Colorado State MuzzleLoading Champion lived in our town and I started to frequent his small gun shop. Fred taught me so much about this sport, about shooting and how to properly clean and maintain my firearms. Fred was a good person and had a big heart. I truly miss him.

Took my 1st Deer with that CVA rifle a year after I bought it and a couple years after that I began hunting elk. Several years after that I learned how to hunt elk...

Talked my dad and by default, all his hunting buddies, into trying the Colorado blackpowder big game season, in the early 80's. The guys purchased their guns and then we all registered for the BlackPowder Elk Season...I shot my gun weekly if not daily all summer and after school in the fall, leading up to the opener of season in late August. Several of the group loved the experience, several of the group hated the technology and never tried it again. If you embrace this sport and accept the technology for what it is, it will embrace you right back.

I actively hunted Elk, Deer and Antelope with a smokepole, for the next several decades. Elk was always my prime focus each year. My last Elk hunt, of any kind, was 10 years ago; when I ruptured a disk in my lower back on the side of a mountain and had to sit out an early season snow storm; before I was able to hobble the 5 miles back into camp, way after dark, and head down to the hospital. That injury was the end of my elk hunting, but not the end of my interests in this hobby.

These days my beloved Elk Hunting takes the form of the occasional Deer hunt, family dove hunts every September, winter pheasant hunts, solo squirrel hunts (those outings are for just me) and annual rabbit hunts with close friends and family to my ole antelope hunting grounds in western Colorado.

I just recently joined the Tallow River Trappers BlackPowder group; after following their activities for the last 10 years plus...yeah, I think I have issues...
 

Del Gue

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The book, and then the mini-series, 'Centennial', were life-altering events for me. It engendered a love of the mountain men and the fur trade, and I resolved to move to Colorado when I retired. Then Colorado went all liberal, so now my sights are set on Montana. My father turned me on the the Terry C. Johnston series of historical fiction novels featuring mountain man Titus Bass, aka Ol' Scratch, and I dearly love that series! Last year I read the entire series for the second time! My father will be 97 in October. I'll hang around until he passes, then sell his house and move to Montana. I'd like to hit a few rendezvous once I get out there, travel and visit the original rendezvous sites. Wouldn't be above touring the Civil War battlefield sites, either, in the order they were fought. My family all had T/C Hawkens made from kits. I later picked up a hawken-style rifle made in Utah, and last year got me a Lyman Great Plains rifle in .54 cal. In 1998, my first year going on vacation in the West, I hunkered down in Pinedale the end of May as a summer snowstorm blew through. Turned out Pinedale has the Museum of the Mountain Man, so I toured that to my great delight.

I think the spirit of that age lives in us all.
 

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